July 30, 2011 Subject:
Fly in the ointment, but great despite that
The film also included some attempt to add dramatic tension with some "spy vs. spy" stuff which, IMO, was poorly done and not really plausible, not to mention being outside of and not really connected with the main story. Thankfully, that portion of the film was very brief.
The story seemed to say to me that tropical islands (and other sylvan paradises) are not for Americans of European extraction, and especially not for orphaned children of such Americans. Pua's family on Maui are portrayed as a people who live simply for the joy of being alive, and who adopt Billy (Bobby Breen) for no more reason than he is Pua's friend. But none of that is for Billy either, as he buys into the idea that he has more of a duty to civilization and "progress" than to real human values. That part of the story left me feeling very sad indeed. (Would I lose myself in the embrace of such a people? In a heartbeat!)
I can't say enough about Bobby's smooth-as-silk singing voice. Such child sopranos were highly prized and regarded in ages past, and here is a well-preserved record of a living example who shows us just exactly why this was so. Such a jewel indeed, and a sort of talent that seems to have passed from our culture entirely. Five stars for the music alone, regardless of any flaws the film may have. (Back to the usual fare, now, of dark films filled with brutality and skulduggery, whether set in an urban center or the open ranges of the West. Oh well...)
December 29, 2010 Subject:
I Can't Make Up My Mind! Can You?
'Hawaii Calls' is great, but 'Let's Sing Again', the first Bobby Breen movie is good as well. So which is better? Watch them both and you decide. They're both a lot of fun, and Bobby's singing is excellent.
January 28, 2009 Subject:
Such a Jewel
This is one of the best black and white movies/musicals I've seen. The two little boys are absolutely precious and the closest of friends; the scene where they hug after Billy sings the lovely 'Espeana' (by Chabrier) is so sweet! Little Billy has such an angelic voice; I especially enjoyed hearing him sing 'Espeana' and 'Hawaii Calls'. I'm sure he brought people much joy back then with his singing. Fans of Looney Tunes, like me, will notice that a few of the people that Merry Melodies used to parody in their several cartoons are in this film (i.e. the captain and Strings). Minus only a few dull moments, it is a mavelous classic. If you love musicals, don't miss this one!
May 23, 2008 Subject:
Innocence In the Islands
Two pre-teen boys off on an adventure. Big enough to do stuff but yuoung enough to envoke universal forgiveness. An orphan with the voice of an angel and the other with local savy. This pair is at the stage in their lives where they can be the the closest of soulmates unencumbered by glands. They have stopped imagining what their toys would say and have yet to start mooning over what the girls might. Folks who appreciated young Jackie Cooper or Mickey Rooney's characters will like this. 8-?
10 year old Bobby Breen does an excellent job acting and singing in this film. The script is somewhat dated, but along with Bobby there is an excellent supporting cast, good direction, and a decent budget given to this production to make "Hawaii Calls" still entertaining.